Google has accused Microsoft’s Bing search engine of “cheating” by copying its search results. According to Google, Bing has been monitoring searches on Google to find out what people search for and the sites they choose to visit.
Bing then uses this information to improve its own search results - and apparently doesn’t deny doing so - Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan reports (opens in new tab).
To catch Bing out, a suspicious Google fixed fake search results to deliberately misspelled queries.
When the same queries were run through Bing using Internet Explorer with "Suggested Sites" and Bing toolbar working, Google found that the searches were producing the same results.
Google was understandably miffed with its findings. “I’ve spent my career in pursuit of a good search engine,” said Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow who oversees the search engine’s ranking algorithm. “I’ve got no problem with a competitor developing an innovative algorithm. But copying is not innovation, in my book.”
In response to the findings, Bing didn’t deny Google’s claim, but did criticise the experiment. “As you might imagine, we use multiple signals and approaches when we think about ranking, but like the rest of the players in this industry, we’re not going to go deep and detailed in how we do it,” Stefan Weitz, director of Microsoft’s Bing search engine, told Search Engine Land.
“Opt-in programs like the [Bing] toolbar help us with clickstream data, one of many input signals we and other search engines use to help rank sites. This ‘Google experiment’ seems like a hack to confuse and manipulate some of these signals,” he added.